Category Archives: Therapist

Reminiscing Mother


Me and Mom

1963-2014

My new therapist wants me to open the mystery door about my mother’s death because apparently I’m not depressed enough for her.  Ha!  It’s been a little over a year and a half and I still haven’t come to terms with how I feel about my mother’s death except I’m happy she’s no longer suffering in this cruel world.

Sometimes I go to the river by the busy highway and speak to her directly or through the universe.  I light candles for her in her honor every few months.  My partner and I get her blue flowers also as tribute.  At times, I believe, one reason why I cemented my journey and involvement with ballet-inspired workouts is because I remembered in her childhood she wanted to be a Ballerina, so I honor her by learning and performing ballet.  Last, but not least, I hung her last painting high up on the wall of a bridge over water over a plush purple night that looks a lot like the bridge I eerily live close to nowadays.

And I’m not sure if because death came and went, or because of my denial, but it’s pretty weird how the older I get and the more I stare in the mirror, the more I realize how much I look like my mother’s daughter.  I guess everyone saw it before me.  Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough before.  Who knows?

The truth is I haven’t been able to sit down and stare longer than five seconds on any of my mother’s photos.  I’ve seen a lot of her different dimensions at different times and the longer I stare at a photo, the more all those dimensions pop out and the more I may have to relive memories that leave me open and scarred.

The longer I stare, the quicker my eyes start to flood and the quicker I start to counter and strain to contain the waterworks.  I’m not a sappy person.  I don’t forget my cruel childhood, but death has a weird way of sitting you down and making you think about your mortality and everybody else’s even if you don’t want to sit down and think about it.  And even though I can be heavily into death itself and metaphysics and pits of darkness, it seems at the age of thirty-four death seems realer than ever.

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Death has also made me think more about how ending memories are probably the most important ones.  This intrigued me because I’m all about beginnings, so for closing memories to leave a devastating mark haunts me.  What’s worse is I didn’t even get to say goodbye while she was conscious.  By the time I went to travel to the hospital to see her I was in a wheelchair with a very painful throbbing ankle in a heavy cast.  It was hell for my foot to not be elevated, but I believe I was numb inside from my mother’s death.  So much was taken from me in a matter of weeks from mobility and now her.

It was awful having the knowledge of how the doctors had to sedate her until she was finally gone because the pain in her intestines would be too much for her to handle.  And that’s what hurts the most.  I think about how hard her life has always been.  I think about all the times I didn’t want to be happy in my own life because I felt guilty because she was always out there suffering with an incurable disease.  My last memory of her alive was observing her writhing in massive pain.  I knew in the way she talked, it was psychologically different from anything I’ve ever heard her say.  In her words, in the way she spoke she was already gone.

It was hard to stomach mentally and it was harder to stomach visually how she could no longer go to the bathroom on her own and how the nurses were the ones bathing her in the room on her bed.  But on the last day I saw her I caressed her hair.  I remembered kissing her on her warm forehead telling her I’ll visit again very soon, but soon after I broke my ankle and I was already far far away from reaching her.

My mother was dying since I was nine years old.  I became desensitized to every near death and actual near death experience she’s ever has, so when this became the day, it was as if life played a hardcore prank on me.  It just seemed like every time she survived another one and another one and another one, but not this time.

Who knew that was going to be the last time I saw her talking or breathing?  Who knew that would’ve been the last kiss I gave her on her warm forehead?  I think some people have fantasies about how they want people to go before they die.  I always thought I’d see her one last time with my brother in the hospital room and we would both take turns saying, “We forgive you for everything.  We know you did the best you could.  We’ll always love you.”

But nothing ever turns out the way you expect in life and that’s just how it is.  So now I think about the other ending memories, the ones way before she went back into the hospital for a gazillion time.  I think about how even though I didn’t have the best relationship with her throughout my life, she did branch into a second mother towards the ending of her life.  She was a newer mother, better mature.  During that process, I believe a big part of her learned to really appreciate me because I was there to the end unlike my brother who stopped showing up to the hospital and didn’t even come to see her at her own funeral.

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I’m left with the ending memories like how I did visit her more often in the hospice.  How I left the house with $50 bucks one day and took her to a street fair where I bought her food, had her play games until she won a stuffed animal and I went back home with a $1 in my pocket.  At the time, for a moment I was upset, but I quickly thought about how she wasn’t going to be around forever – so this is something I’m supposed to do and it was something that came out of my heart anyway.  Plus I wanted her to have a good time and not worry about death coming closer and closer.

I think about the ending memories and how I would take her out on pass for a few hours to enjoy new foods, to get her soda and cigarettes, to enjoy the sun and we would sit in the park and watch the hot guys play soccer.  I think about how for a very long time before I even thought about taking her out and seeing her often, for a time I stopped seeing her altogether.  I stopped seeing her for so long with the intention to make her suffer like she did me and when I came in the hospice room she hugged me tightly and cried so much.  I was still pretty numb at the time.  I’ve always been.

I never thought she felt like that about me – love.  Or how my friend (who now is my current partner) passed me a cigarette behind her back while we walked to the pizza shop out on pass and she scolded him lovingly, “Are you getting my daughter into smoking now?”  And that was the first time in a long time where I thought, “Hey, she must care about me.”

-Pennington

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MEDS


drugs

God.  I apologize to everyone.  I haven’t been inspired lately.  I write on the side when I can (and I suppose I can put up all my Part 2 postings that were to be continued despite how awful they read?), but it’s hard to feel like I can write something blog-worthy and share it with the rest of you guys.  I can only write from the heart or what I’m personally experiencing at the moment so I’ll share some recent events with you’s. How’s that?  Thanks for reading!

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I’ve been on an interesting ride these last few years when it comes to seeing therapists and psychiatrists.  At the age of twelve I was diagnosed with Depression.  I had old features, black circles under eyes, razor cuts on my arms and protruding ribs from starving myself at the time to show for it.  However, decades later it seemed I’ve graduated a few years ago (2013) because now new psychiatrists and therapists have diagnosed me: Bipolar.  This explains all the wicked instant mood swings, triggers that were really landmines and how come many of my relationships as well as friendships have failed.

Of course I debated with these so-called experts about nature and nurture because I’m suspicious of everything and everyone that isn’t me.  I debated about all the things that come from my family’s blood and all the things that come from social disease and conditioning.  Still, in the center I fought with myself and knew the truth: There were cracks in the instances and in between all these instances is where I was getting worse.

I’d go into subterranean dark places for leisure, fun and to isolate myself from the world.  I’d write in essays, poems and prose my suicidal ideations which continued from childhood.  I’d meet with a new friend called anxiety again and again and again questioning the past, present and future concerning everything that became (or was) broken.  Was I going to make it another day in this physical realm? My other good friend (since I was 5) came knocking hard on my door and I’d go through all my cycles of chronic loneliness, hopelessness and meaninglessness and stare at the bottomless grief that arrives to taint and place a million holes in my mind, spirit and heart.

Those cracks in the instances became clear as well as my past history when I was going through one of my most tragic experiences at the age of 12 – signed over to two mental hospitals for over six months – I was fed medication for the supposed imbalances in my brain.  First was Prozac, and then came Lithium.  And of course, I didn’t agree with medication being fed to anyone less than 18 years of age, but my mother didn’t share the same views as her 12 year old.  I had zero control as any kid does at that age and was subjected to doctor’s tests, special diets, wondering what was love and how did it look like and was it true I wasn’t normal and these two medications would be the cure everybody else was looking for?

Prozac made me hyper – so hyper that cartwheels became my favorite thing to perform.  I couldn’t stop!  However throughout the day I’d have hallucinations (of what? I don’t remember anymore – but I’m sure I wrote about it in a lost book for the universe to know) and during the night when I closed my eyes to go to sleep I’d have white flashes come over my eyes like strobe lights.  And when I finally fell into deep sleep, the nightmares were horrible – once I dreamt of giving birth to a demonic alien baby.  (Why would a 12 year old dream of having a baby?)

After the hyperactivity, doctors thought to give me Lithium because my grandmother took it and they had reason to believe it succeeded. (I’m not sure how?)  But something tells me this was all a plot for me to lie on their silver platter to undergo a Spinal Tap procedure.  Lithium had its own issues and the dosage was higher – I had to take it 3 times a day.  With this medication came weekly blood work because mercury and other dangerous things a doctor wouldn’t inform you about were concerns. Then there were countless yeast infections my tiny body couldn’t handle.  Lastly, long-term usage meant my kidney and thyroid would be altered, better yet, damaged to a degree in the future.

So every time a current psychiatrist or therapist would bring up the idea of medication to balance the chemicals in my brain – it’s not a wonder why I would say FUCK NO for years on end!  But a few months ago before bringing on the New Year, I made one of the biggest decisions of my adult life and figured I’ll try medication to stabilize my moods and prevent sudden manic highs and lowly lows.  The reason why I decided to try it is because I’m committed to fixing all aspects of myself.

Then again, who’s to say I need fixing if it’s not someone outside me like a relative, a partner or a societal authoritative figure who keeps claiming there’s something about me I need to fix?

 

To be continued.

-Hall

The Girlfriend Experience


Some clients actually want this.
Some clients actually want this.

This title will be deceiving to some as there are types of professions that’ll give you the girlfriend experience automatically for their own reasons, but I picked this title because it describes my experience perfectly.  See, when your own therapist is trying to give you the girlfriend experience and it doesn’t involve great conversation, an evening gown, a sugar daddy or walking away with an orgasm – you have to question what is going on because some people like myself actually want real therapy.

I’m not looking to sit in somebody’s office and talk about what’s happening throughout my week on a weekly basis.  I don’t want to gossip about my life so the therapist could live vicariously through me.  I don’t want a girlfriend to laugh with that’s presented as a therapist to have offset conversations about my future with.  I don’t want to sit under jarring lights and speak about my opinions or views about my relationship and how does it feel to live with my partner and his two kids.

I don’t want to wait outside the therapist office only to hear loud laughs coming from behind closed doors because I want to KNOW and I want to SEE and I want to HEAR real therapy happen.  You know – the kind of therapy that leaves you crying, reflecting and even feeling lost in your own world by the thought-provoking questions and thoughts that should occur.

The truth is I don’t need to share my present or future plans with this therapist.  I don’t need the option to have a family therapy session.  I don’t need to replace a girl who is a friend because I don’t have any current (real life) girls who are friends anyway.  I don’t need my therapy session to be fun or lighthearted.  I don’t want to be in a niche I believe my therapist has – some kind of Women’s Club.

So the question is:  What do I want from therapy?

I want to stay stuck.  I want to stumble.  I want my thoughts to dig in their own graves if it means I’ll find a better understanding of myself.  I want to cry (if it goes there).  I want the therapist to do their job.  I want a therapist to put in time and effort by taking real opportunities to intentionally ruin my day with childhood trauma and life-altering questions.  I want a therapist who wants to make a difference in every client’s life.  I want to walk away from the therapist appointment feeling like I had a great therapy session and not like I had a fucking girlfriend experience.  I’m not there to be coddled.  I’m there for serious matters.

What I want from therapy is very specific and it has to be because there isn’t any other way to go about it.  I have a family history of mental illness.  Some behavior is learned, while others are given to me directly by blood.  I notice sometimes I’m managing okay, and other times I have to accept that I’m not.  I was diagnosed as a twelve year old kid with Depression.  Now it seems I graduated to being Bipolar.  It is important for me to understand my illness, my blessing and my curse.  And it’s super important for me to understand my behaviors and tics and why I switch into two different types of people without any awareness as to when it’s happening.

The point to all this is:  I remember clearly telling the lady who performed my evaluation exactly what I want(ed) as well as the first time I met and spoke with my therapist.

My therapist has a good nature about her (at times) despite being very different from me and my own life.  Still, I want a good therapist.  And I will get a good therapist because I’m not settling for less and because I’m not going to stop searching for one.  And as I walk away from the therapist office once again thoughts start to balloon collectively but singularly at once:  Why is it every time I’m early to my appointment and lounging in the waiting room I see the same aged clients (late 20’s- early 50’s) strolling out of my therapist’s office?  Why are all these women – whether they’re young or old laughing every time they leave the therapist office?  And why are all the therapists’ clients’ women?

Now the time has come where I believe I’ve fully given this woman enough of my time.  I’m never getting those months back.  Of course this is a learning experience for future therapists and future standards I’m going to set right in the beginning of my first therapy session which takes place next week because this bitch doesn’t play.  I did my goal: I stuck with a therapist for about 6 months because I’m like most men in the world – I have commitment issues.  Nevertheless I learned a lot.  Therefore this is where I break up with the girlfriend experience who is my therapist.

Some Final Notes

Some people have a problem with breaking up with people.  Fortunately and luckily, I do not.  I enjoy it, and frankly – welcome it!  I think about how my life has been about one big confrontation.  And luckily for me I love confrontations because it says a lot about the kind of person you are (or not).  I go on and think about the bases I have to cover in case this therapist decides to fire away questions because she doesn’t like my basic answer which is:  There’s something missing in our therapy sessions.

Along with confrontation I think about liberation.  Breaking up with a partner, wife, husband, business partner and such can be a fantastic release, even if it hurts initially.  I think about the freedom to speaking your mind and expressing what it is you really feel and think about right after moving on and never looking back because if it was good for you, you’ll still be in the relationship or in my case – sitting in a seat across from my therapist who wants to get paid to do half ass work.  I’m not wasting my time to get half ass results.  If a person isn’t driven for success by giving out quality work then why should I (or any other client) be around?

If the other clients don’t understand this, that’s not my problem, and as is, not every client wants what I want.  Some actually want to be coddled.  However, I’m leaving this therapist because I have self-love.  I wish she understood what it is she’s currently providing by not providing.  As a therapist, she should put in time and effort into improving and evolving her client’s lives unless they specified to have a girlfriend experience.

To be continued..

I broke up with my therapist and I liked it.

-Pennington